The rapid increase in the world’s population and consumption level leads to natural resource depletion. Water, soil, natural gas, coal, mineral resources become contaminated or destroyed by non-ecological human activities and industrialization. Finding sustainable approaches to resource extraction and replacement with renewable options is one of the top tasks of scientists, progressive businesses, and individuals all over the world.

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With the world’s population of over 7 billion people, the increase in the demand for natural resources becomes inevitable. Now an average person on the planet consumes at a rate over 50% above a sustainable level. When the resource consumption happens at a faster rate than their replacement there is a threat of their depletion. The value of the resource is evaluated by its availability in nature, as the resources might be renewable and non-renewable. 

The resources in danger today

  • Water. Human activity causes water pollution, deficit, and changes in its composition in industrial, municipal, and agricultural activities. According to the estimates of the United Nations, about 1.8 billion people will live in water scarcity, unless the water contamination issues are managed properly. 

  • Oil and natural gas. It has been proven by multiple types of research that we have approached the peak oil production after which the amounts produced decline. A similar situation is with natural gas.

  • Coal. Even though coal produces fossil fuels harmful to the atmosphere, about ⅔ of the global electricity is produced by coal-fired power plants, and the dependency on coal is not reduced. 

  • Land. The greatest issues concerning land-use have become soil contamination and erosion. Human activities such as mining, production, unsustainable agriculture result in pollution and soil degradation. 

  • Mineral resources. Various materials found in the earth like metal, lime, stone, fuels can be related to the minerals and humans today depend on them in all life aspects from nutrition to construction. With the extraction and waste amounts rising the devastating effect on the minerals leads to their destruction and depletion. 

 

The main reasons for the depletion of the natural resources

  • Overpopulation. With the world’s population approaching 8 billion people its increase continues accelerating resource consumption and depletion.

  • Overconsumption. Technology development has made the process of mineral exploitation, oil mining and other resource extraction easier. With the increase of the population, the necessity of the resources is strengthening as well. At such a level of the consumption of natural resources, their depletion is inescapable. 

  • Environment pollution. Due to the excessive release of carbon dioxide and contamination of the soil and water with chemicals and other toxic materials environmental changes result in global warming, species extinction, and resource depletion. 

  • Deforestation. Overpopulation causes forest clearance for agricultural purposes and development of the new residential areas. Loss of the trees results in plants’ biodiversity destruction and soil erosion.  

  • Industrialization. Even though more companies realize the importance of using the sustainable approach in technologies and production, still industries all over the world use toxic materials and chemicals disposing of them into soils and waters. 

 

The actions to protect the natural resources on a large scale and individually:

  1. Efficient use of electricity, water, and oil. 

  2. Generate and use renewable energy and resources.

  3. Avoid or reduce the use of plastics. 

  4. Replace driving with public transportation use and riding bikes. 

  5. Reduce and recycle waste. 

  6. Control deforestation. 

  7. Coastal ecosystem protection. 

  8. Educate yourself and spread knowledge on sustainable practices.

Resource depletion - video